ACC mum as tourism graft report delay drags on

Despite announcing the release of the long awaited investigation report into the largest corruption scandal in the history of the archipelago before the end of the month, the delay appears to be dragging on as the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) remain tight-lipped over the failure.

Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) had mediated the leasing of over 59 different tourist hotels, resorts and yacht marinas out of which 53 had been leased through an agreement with the tourism ministry.

The official audit report into the scandal, had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.

ACC chief Hassan Luthfee had told reporters in March that three teams were operating the investigation with a large part of the ACC team solely dedicated to the case.

Luthfee stated that the work on the report was currently in the last stage and assured that the report would no longer be delayed.

"We will complete the investigation and release the report in April," Luthfee had said.

However, as the report is yet to be released, ACC officials have remained unavailable for comment to explain the delay.

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company with strong links to former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Both Adheeb and the former MMPRC head Abdulla Ziyath have been convicted and sentenced to prison over the scandal.

The heads of the private company had fled the country and is believed to be hiding in the UK.

A recent documentary released by Al Jazeera had brought the scandal to international limelight.

Government however, had completely rebuffed the 'unsubstantiated' evidence which the Doha based broadcaster claims to have uncovered in the expose.

Government meanwhile has announced a tighter regulation to streamline tourism revenue inflow.

The regulation would now see tourism revenue go through the archipelago's inland revenue as opposed to the tourism ministry.
Government had also vowed to recover the stolen funds.